Have You Tried This Weird Australian Food? [English Lesson]
There’s nothing quite like a bite of a chiko roll…or that first taste of a Tim Tam – that’s why, in this video, I’ve put together 8 Uniquely Australian Foods You Must Try!
These dishes are quintessentially Australian. They’re weird, wonderful, and nostalgic. They remind me of my childhood, of football games, and of my family. I’m sure many Australians feel the same way, which is exactly why I wanted to share them with you.
Not everyone likes the taste of these foods – in fact, there’s one dish that I strongly dislike! Despite this, I can’t deny that they’re totally unique to Australia.
Watch the video to find out about these 8 foods and to learn how you can compare dishes from your own country, how you can describe these foods, and learn how to talk about WHEN you eat them.
You can see that I had lots of fun making this video, so I’d love for you to jump into the comment section and let me know –
✍️ What are the uniquely Australian foods that you may want to try?
✍️ What foods in your country are weird, wonderful, and remind you of childhood?
I’ve included 8 dishes in this video, but there are lots more! If you’ve come across a unique or weird Australian dish, drop that in the comment section too.
Enjoy the video!
CLICK HERE to read the full lesson transcript.
Now if you’re not a regular viewer of mmmEnglish, you may not know that I’m from Australia. Yeah, that’s right, all the way down here.
Now food is the ultimate connector when you’re meeting people from other places and different cultures. We compare dishes, we bring a plate of traditional sweets to share with our colleagues and help them to learn a little about our culture.
So I want to share some uniquely Australian dishes with you. I know some of them might seem a little weird, maybe even a little simple but they are really nostalgic dishes for me. They remind me of home, they remind me of my childhood and that’s what I love about them.
So in this lesson, I’m going to help you to compare dishes from your country, especially nostalgic ones from your childhood or unique foods from your country and it’ll also help you to describe food and talk about when you eat that particular type of food.
And I definitely want to hear that from you all right, I want you to share a bit with me down in the comments about your favourite foods or unique foods in your country as well.
Hit that subscribe button, give the video a like as we dive into the lesson. Let’s go.
First up is Vegemite. Australians are pretty obsessed with Vegemite. It’s probably our national dish and we always get really defensive about it when anyone says that it tastes weird which I totally understand.
The rest of the world looks at Vegemite and goes what on earth is that all about? It’s this weird black spread that you put on bread and say that it tastes delicious.
If you read what Vegemite is, you would definitely be turned off it, it’s made from brewer’s yeast extract, has a few spices and vegetable extract and things that go into it.
Doesn’t sound super appealing, it has this really strong, salty taste and the reason why most people despise it, I think, is because you put too much on, it’s only supposed to be a thin layer of Vegemite. It’s not like Nutella, you don’t paddle it onto your toast.
We eat this for breakfast most of the time on toast and kids will eat it as sandwiches. That’s how we’re all brought up to enjoy Vegemite. We’ll have a Vegemite sandwich, Vegemite and cheese sandwich at school.
It sounds magical, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s just a slice of white bread, like, the cheapest sliced bread that you can find with a layer of butter or even margarine if you have it and then sprinkled with hundreds and thousands.
As an Australian kid, this was an absolute staple at every birthday party, every birthday party that you went to, there was fairy bread, it was definitely my favourite and I wonder if you have your own memory of some delicious childish kind of dish that you always looked forward to when you were a child, you were going to someone’s birthday party.
We used to get lolly bags and things like that. Fairy bread was my favourite but do you have something that you can compare in your own country?
I think actually even amongst other English-speaking countries, fairy bread is quite unique to Australia so I think it’s quite new for everyone watching but I definitely recommend you should try.
Sausage and Bread
The U.S has hot dogs, in South Africa they’re boerewors, and in Australia, we just put our sausage in a slice of white bread so that’s what it’s called, sausage and bread.
So we cook the sausage on the barbecue but if we’re using Australian slang, we’d say:
- We’ve thrown the snags on the barbie.
It’s as simple as it looks. It’s a piece of white bread you put your sausage in it. Maybe add some grilled onions if you’re like me. I do like that touch and add a bit of tomato sauce.
Now, this is so loved by our nation, so loved that the act of throwing a snag on the barbie actually has its own event. It’s called a sausage sizzle.
So you’ll see them at sports events, fundraising events, maybe at school fetes or outside a hardware store in Australia. If you are looking for an opportunity to try one head to Bunnings on a Saturday.
On a Saturday morning at Bunnings, there will be someone there serving sausage and bread and you can try it out for yourself. It’s also a great place to have a little conversation.
They’re usually fundraising and raising money for some organisation but almost every Bunnings, every Saturday, get down there and check it out.
Chicken Parmi/a (Parmigiana)
Next up is our chicken parmi, now Italians may recognise this dish. It’s a popular Italian dish called parmigiana and often, made with eggplant so eggplant layered with tomato sauce, cheese.
There is a chicken version as well and that is definitely the popular version that is in Australia. We love a chicken parmi and you can hear me saying chicken parmi because quite predictably, Australians have shortened parmigiana to parmi.
Unfortunately, there is an ongoing national debate in Australia about whether we shorten to parma or parmi, not really an argument worth getting involved in but you’ll see it at pubs everywhere around Australia. It’ll either be a chicken parma or a chicken parmi.
So in an Australian pub, this dish will be a crumbed chicken breast and it’ll be topped with tomato sauce, grilled cheese and served with salad and probably some chips as well.
If you watched my video about comfort foods you can check it out up here, the chicken parma is so good, it really is the ultimate Australian comfort food. If you’re here, go to the pub, try it, check it out, let me know what you think.
This delightful dish was first introduced into Australia in the 1950s I think and it’s definitely had its heyday all right I think in the 1970s was when it was really popular, it was probably the most popular snack at the football when you’re watching a footy.
It’s easy to hold in one hand. I guess it’s sort of similar to a big giant spring roll except unlike a spring roll, you know, where you usually sit down and dip it, this is kind of a meal to be eaten on the go.
Unlike a spring roll, which is usually delicious, this is pretty gross. It’s got beef in it, no chicken but it’s called a Chiko roll.
I can’t believe I just took a bite out of that. I hope you appreciate it. It’s like barley and cabbage and beef and carrots and onions and celery. I get that it kind of sounds good but it’s really not.
Usually, you find these at fish and chip shops or at servos where they’ve just been sitting in a pie warmer all day.
So you can’t deny that these are quintessentially Australian but I wonder if there’s anything that you can think of in your country where they’ve tried to make something that’s a little bit exotic, a little bit like a dish from somewhere else like a spring roll.
They’ve really messed it up, it’s definitely not as good as the original.
This is not an ordinary chocolate biscuit. There is something special in here that makes this biscuit the most delicious biscuit in the world.
And I think it’s the malted biscuits, there’s like a chocolate cream filling in the middle and then covered in chocolate again.
Everyone’s granny has a packet of these in their fridge. Have it with a cup of tea, they are perfectly good to eat just as they are.
But if you get your hands on a packet of Tim Tams, you should definitely try a Tim Tam Slam. To do that, you bite off diagonally opposite corners of the biscuit, then you dunk it into a cup of hot chocolate, Milo or tea and you suck through the biscuit and the hot liquid melts all of the inside and you end up using it like a straw.
Once you try it, you will never ever go back.
Speaking of cups of tea and grannies, I couldn’t make a video about Australian food without including lamingtons. They really are an icon of Australia. It’s simply just a square of cake that is dipped in chocolate and then covered in coconut.
Really I mean all of these examples of Australian foods that I’m giving you they’re not a good example of modern Australian cuisine but they are definitely simple Australian recipes that have been loved for decades and decades, you know probably made famous in the 50s and 60s and we still enjoy them today.
Perfect with a cuppa. A cup of tea.
You’ve just learned some very traditional, quintessential, very Australian dishes. If you see them anywhere or you can think of any dishes in your own country that might have the similar sentimental value, then definitely have a think about how you can chat about them with an Australian.
You would have noticed that throughout the video there was a lot of slang, a lot of interesting expressions that you might have picked up on as well so hopefully, when you come to Australia, if you’re living in Australia, you get to have the experience of interacting with these strange but lovely dishes.
Let me know any interesting or unique dishes that are in your home country down in the comments and right now if you’re ready to practise some speaking skills then jump over there.
I’ll see you in there.
Links mentioned in the video
Same Language, Different Accents | SA 🇿🇦 US 🇺🇸 & AUS 🇦🇺 English
10 English words you might be pronouncing WRONG!
English Accents | American & Australian Pronunciation